Want the perfect Christmas tree? Do the math

U. SHEFFIELD (UK) — Hoping this will be your year for the perfect Christmas tree?

A new mathematical formula puts an end to Charlie Brown Christmas trees by using the size of the tree to calculate the number of baubels, tinsel, necessary lights, and the size of the star on top.

Maths students at the University of Sheffield came up with the formula in response to a challenge from Debenhams, a United Kingdom department store chain.


“The formulas took us about two hours to complete,” says Nicole Wrightman. “We hope the formulas will play a part in making Christmas that little bit easier for everyone.”

The formula allows customers to be savvy when buying  Christmas decorations, as they can calculate exactly how much they need to create a beautifully decorated tree.

For example, a 6-foot Christmas tree would need 37 baubles, around 919 centimeters of tinsel,  565 centimeters of lights, and an 18-centimeter star or angel to achieve the perfect look.

The world’s tallest Christmas tree would, at 2,600 feet tall, need more than 16,000 baubles, over 4,000 meters of tinsel, almost 2,500 meters of lights, and an 80-meter tall star.

“The formula is so versatile it will work for a tree large enough for the Royal Family at Balmoral but also on trees small enough for the most modest of homes,” says Sarah Theobold, a Debenhams Christmas decorations buyer.

“Customers are often making the error of buying too large or small an angel; however this simple formula means you’ll have the tree-to-star ratio correct.”

Source: University of Sheffield